Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


Leave a comment

High Fens: Breaking Trails

December is well on its way to become one of the murkiest on record. It is therefore no surprise that during another 20+ km solo hike across the High Fens conditions are extremely eerie: all is silent and white, and there is hardly a person to be seen. I have to do a substantial amount of trail breaking, but manage relatively easily without snowshoes as there is only up to 25 cm of snow.

Baraque Michel – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Miesbach – Cléfaye – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-17: High Fens

DSC_0091

DSC_0102

DSC_0120

DSC_0143

DSC_0147

DSC_0197

DSC_0204

DSC_0207

DSC_0257

DSC_0266

Advertisements


1 Comment

High Fens: First Snows

After a few dustings in November, the first real snows arrive beginning of December on the high plateaus in the east of Belgium.

I make a 25 km solo hike on a day with non-abating light snowfall and pretty pitiful conditions for photography due to the lack of light.

Baraque Michel – Bouquet Bastin – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Herzogenhügel – La Béole – Haie de Souk – Botrange – Neûr Lowé – Béleu – Fagne de Polleur – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-03: High Fens

DSC_0125

DSC_0134

DSC_0136

DSC_0137

DSC_0165

DSC_0176

DSC_0177

DSC_0213


2 Comments

Soaking up the sun on the High Fens

Last Sunday I again spent the entire day on the High Fens, from the crack of dawn until sunset. In contrast to last week, the weather was brilliantly sunny, and hiking went like a breeze since snow had nicely settled in the meantime. I walked around 30 km and to my surprise only met very few other hikers, except for the area around Baraque Michel, which is inevitably always quite crowded.

Due to a rather extreme case of temperature inversion, it was only -6°C on the highest summits in the morning, while at the same time in sheltered valleys merely 100 m lower (e.g. Helle) temperature dropped below -17°C.

Baraque Michel – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Brackvenn – Spohrbach – Herzogenhügel – Helle – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Noir Flohai – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-01-22: High Fens

dsc_0113

dsc_0267

dsc_0268

dsc_0269

dsc_0444

dsc_0465

dsc_0487

dsc_0496


1 Comment

A rough and tough snow slog

Ever wondered about good ways to test physical fitness? Well, here’s an idea: consider a 20 km snowshoe slog through half a meter of freshly fallen snow … That’s what I did on Sunday on the high plateaus in the east of the country, and it was seriously tough.

I started my ordeal at Mont Rigi and plodded along the Polleur, Bayehon and Ghaster creeks. Especially the trail along the latter was virtually impossible, and at a certain point I had to give up by steeply climbing out of the valley towards a track in a more reasonable condition.

The weather was pretty murky with a couple of snow showers. Not overly cold though.

Mont Rigi – Polleur – Setai – Bayehon – Ghaster – Bayehon – Setai – Polleur – Mont Rigi

Pictures > Belgium 2017-01-15: High Fens

dsc_0082

dsc_0123

dsc_0148

dsc_0154

dsc_0161

dsc_0177

dsc_0191

dsc_0200

dsc_0225

dsc_0241

dsc_0248

dsc_0274


Leave a comment

A gloomy early winter day on the High Fens

The second week of November brings some unexpected wintry weather to the high plateaus in the east of Belgium, with snow and ice above 600 m. I make a strenuous 29.3 km hike over slippery frozen duckboards, sluggish snow and muddy trails. The day is pretty gloomy, with only a tiny bit of sun towards the evening. Rather typical for the time of year.

Baraque Michel – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Brackvenn – Nahtsief – Brackvenn – Miesbach – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Helle – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2016-11-12: High Fens

dsc_0170

dsc_0172

dsc_0319

dsc_0321

dsc_0369

dsc_0378

dsc_0420

dsc_0469


2 Comments

What a difference 500 m make !

Mid-March. On Saturday I mow the lawn for the first time this year under a blue sky and pleasant early-spring temperatures. On Sunday I take my youngest daughter on a 15.5 km hike circumventing the still entirely snowbound (20 to 30 cm in places) Fagne Wallonne.  The day starts bone-chillingly cold with strong winds blowing from the northeast and low clouds. However, around 10 am clouds quickly dissolve and brilliant sunshine installs itself across the High Fens.

Baraque Michel – Botrange – Haie de Souk – Fagne Wallone – La Béole – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Helle – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2016-03-13: High Fens

DSC_0406